The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted exemptions to several states, allowing them to issue emergency allocations (supplements) based on a public health emergency. New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Illinois are the states that have been granted these exemptions. These new SNAP eligibility rules will remain in effect for up to one month after the COVID-19 public health emergency is officially lifted. If you are eligible for benefits due to these new rules, your benefits will last until your next recertification, even if the public health emergency ends first.In New York, addressing food security during the coronavirus pandemic came at a hefty cost for public benefits such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.
The USDA granted exemptions to the states mentioned above, allowing them to issue emergency allocations (supplements) based on a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Services Act related to a COVID-19 outbreak when a state also issued an emergency or disaster declaration. The Hudson Valley Food Bank was given three emergency benefits to ensure that food pantries had enough food to distribute. Additionally, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to provide economic relief to low- and moderate-income households with past due rent and utility bills for their primary residence accrued during the COVID-19 emergency.The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, helps people with limited incomes buy food. Although New York's declaration of emergency expired in June, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) obtained federal government approval to extend emergency allocations based on continued public need due to COVID-19.Federal Nutrition Programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), School Meals, WIC, and SNAP were all impacted by this decision.
As a result of the USDA FNS hearing by state partner agencies that a safe and successful return to normal operations will require more than 30 days' notice once the nationally declared public health emergency ends, the USDA extended WIC exemptions to 90 days after the end of health public declared nationally.Marisol Morales, from the Bronx and a frequent buyer at the Union Square green market in Manhattan, said that the improved benefits and incentives offered by Grow NYC to encourage people to buy fresh food were very important, as the total price of food increased this year. Last September, the USDA extended approved WIC exemptions for remote certifications, food replacements and other flexibilities until 30 days after the public health emergency expired.The sudden increase in unemployment due to the pandemic increased New Yorkers' dependence on food stamps, causing food producers and local officials responsible for administering the program to adjust to the changing nature of the national emergency. Like regular SNAP benefits, supplemental benefits can be used to purchase food from authorized retail food stores.